As more research is conducted, scientists are continually learning more and more about the impact we are having on the world around us. One of the biggest environmental impacts humans are contributing to is waste. Each year, it seems like the average amount of waste each person contributes continues to rise with no very little signs of stopping any time soon.
In a world where there are so many disposable goods, our trash cans are getting fuller, and our environment is feeling its effects. Thankfully, as researchers are learning more, we are also learning more about ways that we can combat this problem, along with many other environmental issues.
In this comprehensive guide, we will be exploring some of the many ways we can help improve the quality of our world and reduce pollution. One of the most popular ways for getting the word out about improving the environment is through participating in Earth Day. But, it’s important to remember that while one day can make a huge difference, there are 364 other days that you can be utilizing to make a difference. Because of this, we’ll also be exploring a way that you can make a huge difference by taking small, consistent actions–by reducing your waste.
Origination of Earth Day
In the mid-20th century, industrial America was booming. The economy was soaring. But, the environment was suffering. In the years before Earth Day, air pollution, noise pollution, and waste were a commonly accepted way of life with little thought to the potential effects of it on both people and the environment.
As time went on, people began to grow concerned about the actions being taken and it’s ultimate impact. After a terrible oil spill the year before, a senator from Wisconsin was sparked with the idea. With the help of others, the first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970.
It was a day where the American people came together to clean streets, pick up trash, and ignite the modern movement of environmentalism. Before this time, waste and the environment weren’t at the forefront of many people’s minds, but this started the conversation. Though it was only 10% of the population who participated on this day, it totaled to approximately 20 million people coming together and trying to make a difference by cleaning up the world around them. After a seemingly successful inauguration for Earth Day, the rest is history!
Half a Century in Review: A closer look at its impact
This year, April 22, 2020, was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! Since its humble beginnings in 1970, more than 1 billion people each year dedicate their time helping make the world a better place. It is said to be one of the most recognized days of observance in the entire world.
For the first 20 years of Earth Day’s existence, it was regarded as a primarily American event. However, in 1990, it expanded, and people started making Earth Day a day of observation and action around the world. Today, over 190 different countries recognize and observe Earth Day, trying to do their part to help our environment and make the world more sustainable.
Earth Day hasn’t just been a day where people come together and clean up. It has had significant impacts on education about the environment and even sparked changes in policies and laws that help to protect our world.
Earth Day 2020 Virtual and Beyond
This year, Earth Day was one for the books. Not only was it the 50th anniversary of this amazing day, but it was also met with many challenges in the midst of a world-wide pandemic. With social distancing and stay-at-home orders, leaders were faced with many hoops to jump through in order to deem this huge anniversary a success.
Earth Day 2020 was 24 hours filled with calls to action. The theme was climate action, focusing on climate change and it’s impending effect on future generations. There was a huge push this year in the digital space to spread awareness, share information, and provide education on this topic for those all around the world.
While there was a huge virtual presence for Earth Day this year, there were still many socially distanced, at home suggestions on how to participate in the day.
While the day was a raging success, it’s important to remember that there’s more to being environmentally conscious than just participating in Earth Day each year.
How You can Help S.A.V.E. our Planet
Earth Day is a very important day each year, but it’s important to remember that it’s simply just a day. There are 364 other days in the year that we can be utilizing to improve our planet and make this world a better place for everyone to live in.
No matter what day it is, there are always things that you can do to help keep our planet clean and prevent any more pollution and waste. Whether you prefer using your voice and your platform or getting down and dirty to actually do the work, there are so many different ways that you can use your personal strengths to make a change! Here are the four main ways you can help SAVE our planet…
- Speak Up
Now more than ever, more and more people are able to speak up for things that they believe in. In the world of social media, everyone has a platform to share their voice. Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and the list goes on..If people see you speaking up about a particular cause that you are genuinely passionate about, chances are, there will be at least a few of your followers who will be interested or look into it!While sharing and spreading awareness on the Internet is a great start, there are also other ways you can use your voice including: starting a petition for a change in your local community, emailing and calling government officials to take action and make changes, and so much more. Using your voice can make a big impact and get people thinking about ways that they can make changes in their environments both on the personal level and on the global level.
In addition to speaking up, you can also reduce waste and improve the world around us by taking action, actually getting up and physically doing something to make a difference.There are big actions and little actions, but no matter the size, it can still make an impact! Whether you simply see some trash on the side of the trail during your afternoon walk and pick it up or you volunteer at a recycling center, all actions add up to making a difference. So, don’t worry if you can’t contribute too much time or effort. You can still make a difference!You can volunteer on various days and at various events throughout the year. Of course, you can get involved on Earth Day each year, but did you know that there’s an America Recycles Day every November 18 as well? Be sure to check out our article on America Recycles Day if you’d like more information on how to get involved.And don’t forget, you don’t need a day to take action! You could even make it a fun family affair! For example, you could take your family on a hike or a walk and hold a competition to see who can pick up the most trash. This not only will promote family time, but it will also instill the importance of keeping our community and world clean in your children.
For the voting age demographic, you can always take your voice and actions to the polls. Becoming involved in local and federal elections can also make a huge impact on saving our planet. You can vote for leaders who prioritize and push for policies that will help clean up our communities.
If you’re not sure who to vote for or you’re not yet able to vote, not all is lost! There’s still another way that you can help protect our planet! Not only can you educate yourself on prevalent issues that are going on in our environment, but you can also educate others.Thanks to technology, you don’t need a degree in environmental studies to learn about the impact pollution is making on our society and our world. Education and information are constantly at our fingertips and in our computer screens ready for us to learn and become even more educated.Once you educate yourself on the environment, ways to help, and so on, you can help educate others through speaking up and sharing your learning.
One big way that you can help S.A.V.E. the planet is by taking action through reducing your waste. In this comprehensive guide, we are going to focus on one of the biggest ways you can make an impact on your environment. We’re going to be focusing on ways that we can reduce waste because there are a multitude of simple and easily implementable strategies that anyone can do! By reducing waste, we can make a change!
Sustainability is one of the biggest issues facing the world today. As the world has modernized and become more advanced and efficient, trash accumulation continues to rise. According to the EPA, which has been collecting data on waste for over 30 years, in the United States alone, each person generates an average of 4.51 pounds of waste per day. That brings the yearly total of waste for 2017 to 268 million tons. What happens to all of this waste? Where does it go?
Well, one option is landfills. But, in recent decades, we are learning more and more about the detrimental, long-term environmental impact landfills and dumps are having. Thankfully, with the help of days such as Earth Day and many initiatives and programs, people are becoming more and more aware of the great effects waste has on our environment.
Why Reduce Waste?
In 1960, there were approximately 68 million tons of waste, whereas in 2017, there was around 268 million tons. The amount of waste is growing each year with no signs of slowing, but the world only has so much room. As you can see, waste is an ever growing problem not just in the United States, but all over the world. With mass production of waste from each human being, something must be done.
While the news of all this waste can seem so grim, there is also some positivity to share. Reducing waste and ridding of waste in alternative ways can make a difference. For example, recycling increased 35% in 2017, which promotes reusing various materials instead of simply throwing them in a landfill.
Similarly, disposals to landfills once accounted for almost 95% of all waste generated in 1960 (a decade before the Earth Day initiative began) to only 52%. This also shows that people are beginning to care about how they dispose of their waste, and it is showing improvements. It should also be said that composting is another way to get rid of waste that is heavily on the rise.
With all of this being said, these upticks in people reducing their waste and disposing of their waste in different ways is having a positive impact on our environment. For example, with the composting and recycling done in 2017, it reduced so much carbon dioxide in the air, it could be equivalent to taking over 31 million cars off the road that year alone. Talk about a huge impact!
So, the reason you should consider limiting your waste and disposing of it properly is because it can truly make a difference in our environment. Just imagine if everyone started taking the steps listed below…
How to Dispose of Waste Responsibly
One way that you can help S.A.V.E. the planet on any day of the year is to begin disposing of your waste responsibly and mindfully. For years, many Americans would simply throw something in the garbage if it was “garbage”. But, thankfully, there is an ever increasing trend of evaluating your garbage and determining how to best dispose of the various items in a way that is significantly less harmful to the environment.
At Reduction In Motion, we make it our mission to help others learn how to best dispose of their waste that not only saves them money, but also helps to lessen their environmental impact. One of the things we do is actually perform waste audits, which is where we get nose deep in our clients trash and evaluate how they can best dispose of their waste responsibly.
Though we may not be able to come and perform a waste audit for your home, you can always do one yourself! Take some time and evaluate what you’re putting into the trash. You’d be surprised at all of the items being thrown away that can be disposed of differently.
Here are the three main ways to dispose of an item:
- Recycling & Reuse
In essence, recycling is the process of taking materials that otherwise would have been regarded as traditional “trash” and finding new ways for them to be used. Sometimes, this could be a DIY project where you recycle glass jam jars to be paintbrush holders, but more often than not, you can recycle certain items to companies in which they break them down and reuse them for new products.Some of the most common items recycled include:
- Plastic bottles
- Plastic containers
- Milk cartons
- Cardboard boxes
- Paper products
- Glass jars
- Glass bottles
While there are definitely more items than those listed above that you can recycle, this is just to give you an idea. Are there some items listed above that you regularly throw in the trash? You may want to consider recycling instead!There are many ways that you can recycle. Some areas actually have recycling trucks that collect recycling from various neighborhoods and some grocery stores, such as Target, have areas where you can bring your recycling and drop it off. You can also research different recycling centers to see what they accept as recycling and where you can bring it.
Composting is when you take any organic matter and put it through a process in which it decomposes naturally. This naturally decomposed substance can then be used as soil fertilizer and other things that wouldn’t have been possible if you had simply thrown away these items. Composting has a multitude of sustainability benefits and in recent years, it has been found that approximately 39% of all waste is compostable.